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When I Realized I Wasn't Asking for Help With My Depression — I Just Thought I Was

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Why is it that some people say all you need to do is ask for help and everything will get fixed? It seems to me when you finally muster up the courage to ask — and I mean really ask, not just insinuate that something may be wrong — nobody has any answers for you.

This is what I think when things I would like to have fixed by now are still a problem. I sometimes fear that no one else is trying to help me get better, but I am now realizing — maybe I’m not asking them for the help, I just thought I was.

I have lived with depression since I was 15. This was discovered when I was diagnosed with a dysthymic disorder at the age of 18. I had a diagnosis, I was being treated — but I felt it wasn’t enough. This wasn’t me asking for help yet.

I spent the next few years on and off meds, going through ups and downs, but nothing severe enough for anyone to notice anything was seriously wrong. I would tell people I wasn’t feeling well, I would miss out on things, I would fall behind in school. People started to see me changing. Even though it may have seemed like it, I wasn’t asking for help then either.

When I was 20, I was put on a higher dose of combination medicine and diagnosed with a double depressive disorder, which is the combination of a dysthymic disorder as well as a major depressive disorder. Somewhere in these years, I started having crippling anxiety and was diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder. There were meds for that, too. At this point, I missed as many classes as I could without being kicked out of my program and spent most of my free time crying. But unfortunately, even though I felt like my pain was so obvious, I still had not asked for help.

In May of this year, after starting a trial on new medication, I decided I was feeling better and needed a change of scenery for the summer. I moved out on my own thinking I would feel better if I lived far away. For a little while, I felt like I no longer needed the help; I was doing well, I loved my job and my friends — it was all amazing. Then somehow, it all came crashing down. Everything fell apart so fast I couldn’t even tell you how it happened.

I attempted suicide in May, and then finally, someone asked for help for me. Getting to a place where you can ask for help is a difficult task. I am sorry to report that once it’s done, your job doesn’t get any easier. Yes, there are supports out there, and yes, some of them are incredibly amazing. But it can be a very frustrating process. Finding a counsellor or therapist, or a psychologist can be a challenge, and finding one you like is often even harder.

Don’t take this to mean it isn’t worth it, because trust me when I tell you it absolutely is. Knowing I have a whole team of people in my corner is sometimes the only thing that gets me through a hard day. I am still trying to find a therapist, but I’m OK with waiting for one I like. I am happy I was able to get the help I needed, even if I wasn’t able to ask for it.

I think if I had been able to tell someone I wasn’t able to ask for help on my own, I could have saved myself a lot of complications. But the thing is, I thought I was asking for help the whole time when really I was not. Be clear with what you need, and tell people if you can’t do something, because the only one missing out is you. Getting help is hard, too; I am frustrated every single day by it. But it’s all about trusting the process and waiting for positive outcomes.

Image via Thinkstock.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. 

Originally published: September 20, 2016
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